Build a house in 5 easy steps

A house under construction in Kiambu County.
A house under construction in Kiambu County. PHOTO/FILE
Building your own house can be stressful for you especially if you are a first-timer. But lucky for you, we have compiled some practical advice and tips to help you just do that.

1.) Planning – This is the most important stage of your house construction endeavor. Planning ahead ensures that you have minimal changes during your project as changes can impact heavily on your budget while pushing back the completion date.

After deciding what type of house you want to build, the next step is to examine the land on which you plan to build that house. Sites vary considerably and you should examine the relationship between the house and the terrain to ensure the structure will sit right on the plot.

2.) Design – Although you may find house plans on the Internet, it is advisable to hire an experienced (and registered) architect to create a plan for you. An architect can greatly reduce the amount of time and effort that you might otherwise spend trying to create a layout for your house.

Classified websites and telephone directories can provide names and addresses of architects, quantity surveyors, structural engineers, contractors and other professionals who can help you overcome the hurdles involved in house construction.

3.) Building regulations – Every area has its specific building code and you should familiarize yourself with your local building regulations.

If your house plans have an unusual design, you will need to address the concerns of your local code-enforcement department and show how your design can fit in with the raised concerns. This will make your work easier when applying for building permits.

4.) Purchasing building materials – Try as much as possible to buy your materials in bulk as this can greatly save on construction costs. This will be appropriate when you purchase materials such as nails, roofing tiles, floor tiles and steel products. For materials such as wood and cement you may need to consider the issue of storage before making the bulk purchase as these materials are easily affected by bad weather.

5.) The actual construction – This stage should begin by the construction of a strong foundation, which will ensure a sturdy house. Once the foundation is ready, build the outside walls and the roof then ‘inside’ the house. This will make it possible for your workers to continue with the project in case the house is not completed by the onset of the rainy season.

Important considerations:

  • Work out your budget carefully – Be realistic and create a budget that you can realistically afford. And in case you intend to borrow, factor in possible increases in interest rates.
  • Allow at least 20 per cent cash for contingencies right from the start.
  • Create a project plan spelling out what needs to be done, when and by whom from the start of the project through to completion.
  • The above information is just a sketch of a home construction project. You should get in touch with qualified building professionals who will lead you through your project.